Exhibited, not in the skilful pursuit, but in the rational disregard of pleasure, - in the clear apprehension of the intrinsic worthlessness of this and most other objects of men's ordinary desires and aims. Pleasure, indeed, Antisthenes declared roundly to be an evil; " Better madness than a surrender to pleasure."
Armfeldt says our army is cut in half, and Paulucci says we have got the French army between two fires; Michaud says that the worthlessness of the Drissa camp lies in having the river behind it, and Pfuel says that is what constitutes its strength; Toll proposes one plan, Armfeldt another, and they are all good and all bad, and the advantages of any suggestions can be seen only at the moment of trial.
At the gambling table he was unfortunate, and there can be little question that he was fleeced both in London and in Paris by unscrupulous players of his own social rank, who took advantage of his generosity and whose worthlessness he knew.
The Stoic doctrine of the worthlessness of ordinary human virtue, and the stern paradox that all offenders are equally, in so far as all are absolutely, guilty, find their counterparts in Christianity; but the latter (maintaining this ideal severity in the moral standard, with an emotional consciousness of what is involved in it quite unlike that of the Stoic) overcomes its practical exclusiveness through faith.
But admiration of his talents must not blind us to his moral worthlessness, nor is it right to cast the blame for his excesses on the brutal and vicious society in which he lived.